My Automotive Triumph at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

The Weekend Wall Street Journal featured this snippet about a new book by Jeffrey Milstein, Paris: From the Air, described by its publisher Rizzoli as “combining daring aerial photography with the restricted airspace over Paris [to provide] both breathtaking and unparalleled views.”

That image brought back the Paris Rotary Rally the Missus and I conducted years ago as we hustled to return a rental car to avoid an extra day’s financial charge.

On that particular day we started in the Loire Valley, stopped off in Chartres to check out the Cathedral, then booked it to Paris, got there right around rush hour, and soon hit the mother of all rotaries at Place de la Concorde.

Immédiatement I decided to go Full Boston by busting into the Darwinian maze of traffic (hey – that’s why you take the collision on a rental car, right?), thereby setting off a cacophony of car horns that was très formidable.

Tout suite I was barreling up the Champs-Élysées toward the Arc de Triomphe (the mother-in-law of all rotaries).

Flush with collision insurance, I adopted the same approach as before, muscling my way into the automotive scrum to the audible displeasure of les habitants.

Quel dommage.

And then – miraculeusement – we were at the car rental place with five minutes to spare.

I never drove in Paris again.

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